In stories, myths, and legends, ancient peoples attempted to answer the questions related to the human experience: What happened? What went wrong?
The Greek story of Pandora’s box tells how curiosity tempted Pandora to open what was originally a jar, full of sickness, death, and other tragedy experienced by humankind.
In Asian Pacific culture, there are stories of the sinking of the continent of Mu, mostly unknown to people in the West.
The Bible seeks to address what went wrong in human experience. The most familiar story is of Adam and Eve. The serpent persuades Eve to eat the fruit of a tree that he promises will let her know good and evil. Then Eve persuades her husband to eat it too. This gets them ejected from the Garden of Eden.
But this is only the first story in the Bible that attempts to portray the cause of human tragedy.
The next is the story of Cain and Abel—the first murder. Cain becomes angry because his brother has found favor with the Lord while Cain has not. So Cain slays Abel.
The next story portraying what has gone wrong for us as human beings is the Flood. Like many ancient stories, it is full of superstition, attributing the results of human behavior to an angry God.
The sons of God have union with the daughters of men. What is that all about? So, God drowns all life on the planet except noble Noah, his family, and the animals in the ark.
The story of Noah’s ark addresses the relationship between people, especially men and women. Do you think that might cause what goes wrong in human experience?
There is one more story in the early chapters of Genesis—the first book of the Bible—portraying what has gone wrong for humankind, the story of the Tower of Babel. It portrays an attempt to build something extraordinary and thereby become famous and respected, only to find that it falls apart. It is the story of unity destroyed.
This is from the story. I imagine the early English translators laughing at this portrayal of the egoic tendencies of humankind.
And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech….
And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. (Genesis 11:1-3)
What do you make of all that? They had brick for stone and slime for mortar.
What is slime? Probably a petroleum product we might call tar. They didn’t have the real stuff which holds masonry together—mortar. They had slime. Can you imagine how the masonry of a tall building would slide if all that was holding it together was tar?
And they did not have stone either. They had brick for stone. Brick is a humanly manufactured substitute for what nature has taken eons to produce—stone.
This is a symbolic representation of what goes wrong for us as human beings: we are trying to build human experience—community, family, organization, or a human enterprise—out of materials that are not the real stuff. We do not have what really holds everything together. We do not have the real building blocks of life and culture. We have inferior substitutes.
What does hold things together? Is it not the ordering power of Love? Love itself? We have the law of attraction, but then there is the power of attraction. Love. Not slime. No wonder it fell apart.
And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. (Genesis 11:4)
Here is the introduction of what, in this day, we might call ego. Let us make a name for ourselves. We could become famous!
As in many ancient stories, human activity and its consequences are portrayed as the punishment of gods, as if it is not simply the natural consequence of what people do. So there is human suspicion that comes into the story.
And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city….
Here, the author also describes why we do not understand each other and how oneness is lost. It is a story portrayed in symbolic terms. This story repeats and repeats in human experience, no doubt in yours and mine, and in our experience together.
Recently, I heard author Thomas Friedman comment on the broad sweep of geopolitics since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. For those of us who remember that era, there was euphoria in America. Here we were, becoming the world’s sole superpower. There was going to be peace and prosperity across the globe. World trade thrived. Automation, powered by computer chips, exploded.
The Cold War was ending, and it seemed like the world might be getting along at last. The Russians seemed to be behaving themselves. Deng Xiaoping was leading China out of poverty with the growth of a market economy, and he opened China to the global market.
For years, the global economy grew, and inflation was held in check.
Where are we today? The Tower of Babel has fallen, and the weakness of the egoic structure behind our geopolitics has shown itself. We have the worst war in Europe since World War II. China is becoming more autocratic than ever, seeking to dominate the world economically and threatening Taiwan. There is inflation globally and the slowdown of economic growth.
The underlying reality has shown itself—that we had bricks for stone and slime for mortar, that what we created was not made out of the real stuff, and that there was no authentic underlying harmony.
That is the reality on the world scene. But what about us?
Implicit in the cause behind any human problem is the remedy for that problem. In the Pulse of Spirit last week, I addressed how the man who founded Sunrise Ranch and Emissaries of Divine Light had the brilliance to see that the issue for human beings was coming to point within humankind’s spiritual nature. He was not ignoring what is happening in the physical body. He was not ignoring what is happening in our thought processes, and he was not ignoring what happens for us emotionally. He addressed it all. But he asserted that the critical factor is what is happening in our spiritual nature. He said that is where the problem is, and that is where the solution lies.
Was he right or wrong? If he was right, and you try to solve the problem somewhere where you are not at the root of it, you will end up building a Tower of Babel. If you try to solve the problem physically or mentally and do not solve what is happening in the human spirit, then the ordering power of Love that could hold the human experience together can’t. And that is precisely what we are looking at.
Most of us who subscribe to this publication have nothing we can do directly about what happens in the geopolitical world on Planet Earth today. But we have our own sphere of operation at a spiritual level. And I want to be very specific about what I am speaking of. I am not talking about a spiritual world someplace else. I am talking about our spiritual nature, our spiritual capacity. That is where the harmonization takes place. And then everything else in our human experience can integrate with that.
For us, as for any human being, our experience and our service to the world comes down to how we, ourselves, operate. That is true for us individually in the spheres where we each live and serve. And then, in our work together, the same is true. What is our ability to harmonize together, actually? I am not speaking about some kind of theocracy or spiritually styled dictatorship. The opportunity we have is to know an actual spiritual harmonization that is born out of our harmonization with something within ourselves that we find in common with each other so that we gain the ability to weave a shared fabric of humanity among us.
We have the opportunity to experience that and to weave it among ourselves. But how do we do that if we are not dealing with the real thing? Is there simply ego at play, trying to build a tower to the sky out of human substitutes for the fundamental building blocks of a creative human culture? How about making our world out of the real thing, with real harmonization with one another?
That is a challenge, isn’t it, for any of us who have given serious thought to it? Of course, I imagine we all have, in some way, whatever is in play for us—family, community, work, business, or whatever it is. Whether or not there is a coming together in harmony is at issue.
Now, how about for us together with each other in this conscious spiritual context?
Looking at human ignorance in the world related to these things, do you sometimes feel like you are hitting your head against the wall? Perhaps we look around for those who are conscious of the need for harmonization, oneness, and a change in world culture. And yet even there, it is impossible to accomplish any of that on an egoic basis. The ego is totally incapable of bringing spiritual harmonization. And so there has to be surrender to something higher.
We are not going to build a tower to the sky out of human effort. And yet, when there is Attunement with something higher than we are, an ordering power that dwarfs human effort, and when there are people who are interested in allowing the entire human experience to integrate with a harmony that transcends humankind, there is great possibility.
Happily, we can not only say, I hope it will happen one day. The wonder of it is that we have the actual experience of it now, to whatever degree we do. And that is the starting point for weaving the fabric of wonder. It is the wonder and the joy of our own communion with the inner reality of Being, however you want to name it, and with each other.
For me, I love knowing and feeling deep Attunement with the Most High, knowing I am sharing it with you. There is a harmonization that transpires in our love and praise for what is most high in our experience.
How about letting that grow for ourselves, touching it, being activated by it, deepening in that, finding that there is an intelligence, a wisdom, and a guiding influence for us and for our lives, an influence that holds our heart and our spirit, keeps us in a good place, keeps us safe, and empowers us to live a life of service and creativity? It empowers us to change the world.
This is the answer to what went wrong. And it is what is going right, right now.